Since President Barack Obama nominated Regina Benjamin for U.S. surgeon general last week, a horde of healthcare organizations have issued statements praising the 52-year-old family physician as a solid choice to become the nation’s doctor.
Benjamin nod widely praised
With HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius looking on, Obama announced his selection of Benjamin at a news conference in the White House Rose Garden on July 13. The president highlighted Benjamin’s many accomplishments that he said make her an “outstanding” candidate, such as being named a 2008 MacArthur Foundation fellow and becoming the first physician under 40 and the first African-American woman to be named to the American Medical Association’s board of trustees in 1995.
Later that same day, Catholic Health Association President and CEO Sister Carol Keehan said in a written statement that Benjamin—who is a CHA board member—brings “competence and integrity” to the position, while Donald Palmisano, former president of the AMA, said that Benjamin’s recent role as chairwoman of the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs shows her knowledge about the standards of conduct for honorable behavior by physicians. Meanwhile, American Hospital Association President and CEO Richard Umbdenstock said that the AHA is “extremely pleased” with Obama’s choice, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(D-Calif.) said that she looks forward to working with Benjamin on prevention and wellness.
Obama talked about Benjamin’s efforts to treat the diverse and impoverished patient population of Bayou La Batre, Ala., a village of more than 2,700 where Benjamin opened the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in 1990. Damaged by two hurricanes, the clinic reopened twice, with help from Benjamin’s own financial resources. After opening a third time, the clinic burned to the ground and Benjamin is once again rebuilding.
A spokeswoman for Benjamin said that she is not granting interviews while her Senate confirmation hearing is pending.
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